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Buzzards soaring, but bees still suffering in the countryside

There is both good and bad news coming out of the countryside with regards to wildlife. The number of buzzards is climbing, but sadly bees are currently suffering. Figures for buzzards have shown that the population has grown significantly, in spite of the fact that their numbers were dangerously low, as little as 50 years ago, as a result of poisoning from pesticides and persecution from humans. The increase in the numbers of this glorious bird of prey shows that Britain as a nation has a more positive view towards the protection of wildlife. The food web, at which the buzzard sits at the top, is currently very healthy, which is a great indicator of the countryside being in a good way. A common buzzard with its head turned to the right — Fur Feather and However, there are still a select few who choose to ignore the fact that persecuting birds of prey is illegal. Nest destruction, illegal use of traps and shooting are the main reasons the bird has been in decline, but these are issues the RSPB is looking to solve. Bees are currently reported to be suffering, which is an issue that needs addressing due to the key role they have in the production of many harvested crops. Tomatoes, apples and multiple varieties of beans are just a few of the crops that are pollinated by the bumblebee on a daily basis and would suffer if numbers continued to decline. Each year, the bumblebee provides crop pollination at an estimated value of £2 billion in Europe, and £153 billion worldwide. Of the crops grown for human consumption in Europe, 84 per cent of require insect pollination in order to enhance the quality of the product. A bumblebee covered in pollen, on the edge of a flower — Fur Feather and Fin Since the mid 1940s, the United Kingdom has lost nearly 97 per cent of its flower-rich meadows, an important feeding ground for bumblebees. As a result, they are left with little to feed on. Coupled with pesticide use and disease, numbers are plummeting at an alarming rate. Currently, a scientific research programme called BeeWalk is being conducted by the Bumblebee Conservation Trust. The data is being gathered to help better understand the population of the bumblebee in an attempt to protect its future. With many insects, including both domesticated and wild honeybees and bumblebees, amongst other species of wild bee, pollinating, the impact of having fewer would be devastating on food production. It is therefore hoped that this new research can ensure the bee will continue to provide its invaluable service to the countryside.
  • Our range of outdoor country clothing is perfect for venturing into the countryside to witness the array of wildlife we have in the UK. You may also want to take a look at our range of binoculars to help you spot those hard to miss critters!
  Photos courtesy of Spencer Wright & P7r7, under Creative Commons